Is the headline I would use if the Royals managed to bring any kind of offense with them tonight. Bruce allowed just one hit over six shutout innings which probably tempted Dayton to offer him a two-year contract extension. It was an outing strong enough to get a win.
But I think the bats got left somewhere west of Toledo because the Royals looked like they were back to their ineffective "Jack Maloof" days offense. The new revamped and to be fair, much more sabermetrically-friendly lineup produced just five hits - four of them singles, and eleven strikeouts. The top four hitters in the lineup struck out seven times and managed to get on base just twice. CLEARLY THEY NEED ESCOBAR TO HIT SECOND AGAIN!
The Royals best scoring opportunity came in the fifth. David Lough led the inning off with a triple. Seems like the team should have no problem getting him home right? I don't know if the stats bear it out, but it seems like the Royals have struggled all year to score runners at third with less than two outs. According to Baseball-Reference, with a runner at third base and less than two outs, the American League as a whole is hitting .313/.341/.485 with 1649 RBI in 2687 plate appearances (61% runs driven home rate). The Royals are hitting .297/.349/.442 with 102 RBI in 175 plate appearances (58%). The Royals get on base more, but drive runs home slightly less.
Anyway, you can see where I'm going with this. After Alcides Escobar grounded out to second, the next two hitters - Elliot Johnson and Jarod Dyson - actually walked, loading the bases. It looked to be a big inning against the Klubmeister! But Alex Gordon struck out after battling back to a 3-2 count, Eric Hosmer weakly grounded out to Kluber to end the threat. Team, we really need to have a serious talk about Alex Gordon. I'm thrilled he's an All-Star and everything, but he's been struggling for six weeks now. Since June 1, he's hitting .213/.338/.320 with nearly a strikeout per game. I'm glad he's at least got his walk total back up, but you know its just a matter of time before the coaching staff starts getting on him for not being aggressive enough.
In the seventh, runs were actually scored in the game as Tim Collins allowed the first two hitters to single off him. Aaron Crow quickly replaced him and gave up an RBI single to Carlos Santana and a two-run RBI double to Michael Bourn. There was some angst about how Crow allows all sorts of inherited runners to score, but coming into this game, he was slightly better than league average, allowing 31% of inherited runners to score. Relievers aren't perfect with ERAs of 0.00 all year. When the offense gives them zero margin for error, their imperfections get highlighted, but this game was not on Collins and Crow. Its on those nine guys who brought wooden sticks to the plate but failed to use them for any productive means.
But hey, Bruce Chen, amirite? He has more wins then All-Star Joe Nathan, and a lower ERA than All-Star Yu Darvish? Why was he snubbed for the All-Star Game? CHEN NOW!